Email, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Tools, Email Marketing Advice, Social Media Marketing

Integrating Email and Social Media with Flowtown

Aren’t social media and email more alike than they are different? Both seek to keep your brand top-of-mind with customers and prospects, communicating in a relevant, timely way that ideally is measurable and testable.

But the problem with email and social media is that too many people are positioning it as an either/or scenario. Several blog posts have foolishly been written about social media “killing” email. As my friend Jeff Rohrs from ExactTarget (client) says: “How can social media kill email, when you have to have an email address to belong to a social media site?”

And that’s the premise behind Flowtown, one of the most exciting new social media tools I’ve seen in months.

A Social Anthropologist, Hidden In Your Keyboard

Flowtown enables you to enter any email address, and the system instantly reports back where and how that address is connected on the social Web. Here’s the results for my friend and client Indra Gardiner from Bailey Gardiner in San Diego:

Amazing, no?

Social Outposts Without the Mystery

I’m often asked by corporate clients where they should engage in social media. “Should we be on Twitter, or Facebook, or Linkedin, or YouTube, or some other places?”

Flowtown gives you the answer in seconds. Export your email subscriber or customer database to Flowtown, and you’ll know in minutes what percentage of your audience is on Facebook or some other social outpost.

They also have a nice integration with Klout – the leading service to gauge Twitter influence – automatically including Klout scores for each person.

Isn’t that worth the 5 cents per contact that Flowtown charges?

But Wait, There’s More

Recognizing that knowing who your customers are, and being able to do something about it are entirely different, Flowtown also has a built-in email component. So, if you want to instantly send an email to only your customers that are on Facebook, inviting them to become fans of your brand there, you can do it in minutes using Flowtown’s existing integration with MailChimp.

The fee for up to 75,000 sent emails per month is just $99.97.

Tip of the Iceberg

Unlike enterprise-class social anthropology services like Rapleaf, Flowtown is incredibly easy-to-use, and is tuned for the do-it-yourself marketer. But, the current system is just the beginning.

“We want to be the mint.com of social marketing,” says Ethan Bloch, co-founder of the San Francisco based company. “We want to give SMB a complete tool to allow them to move the needle on the 20% of social media that matters.”

Features being considered for inclusion in new releases include CRM integration; deep analysis of customers’ social graph and content they’ve produced (keyword analysis of your Tweets, for example); and even semi-automated social media response mechanisms.

Not Perfect, But Useful

As with any data-harvesting service, Flowtown results aren’t bullet-proof. The more email addresses a person uses across the social Web, the less ideal the results. For example, Flowtown’s data on me isn’t particularly accurate, because I use several different email addresses.

But, the service goes a long way toward tying email and social media together in a coherent, actionable fashion, and is affordable for almost every company. I’m excited to see what these guys add next.

Thanks to my friend (and startup mentoring legend) Francine Hardaway for turning me on to Flowtown – she’s an advisor to the company.

If you take Flowtown for a spin (they have a free trial), will you please tell us all how it goes in the comments?